Start ups and SMEs in Qatar here’s your first step

Dear Startups and SMEs. It’s time to take your first professional step! First of all I wanted to say congratulations to Enterprise Qatar on the appointment of their new CEO. His name is Abdulaziz Al Khalifa. Don’t know him? Ask around, you’ll hear nothing but great things about this guy. What’s more exciting for me, is the fact that he’s all about supporting Qataris and encouraging start-up partnerships in the country. I get excited when there are people who want to empower the youth that get put into these great positions.

I wanted to share something that EQ call the Jadwa program. I’ve gone through their documents and their website and thought it would be nice if I put together the main points (or al zibda in Arabic). Honestly, there are many people (myself included) that have been burnt and demotivated by ‘incubators’, investment schemes and grant programs. Honestly, I kind of felt like it was all for show. “Hey look at us, we’re helping startups”, and then they just sit there.

I’ve seen other organizations (not necessarily in Qatar) that have spent MILLIONS on publicity and luxurious events. Honestly, all I could think was “Wait… why don’t they just use those millions to actually invest in startups?”. Common all you other youthful entrepreneurs, you’re thinking it, I just said it.

Anyway, now EQ has caught my attention (about time!) and it’s with this Jadwa program.

What is it?
You know what I’m bad at? Numbers. I get a great idea and go with my gut instinct. You know what would have given me even MORE confidence in my ideas? Understanding the potential of the business I’m trying to run. Now if I was going to pay a company or consultant to help me put together a feasibility study, it could cost an arm and a leg.

What Jadwa does is they will cover the cost of up to 70% of conducting a feasibility study. Before that, they’ll help advice you as to how sound your businesses idea is before actually moving forward with the feasibility study (that’ll help save you cash).

What’s included in the feasibility study is Market analysis, potential for profit, legality, and more. The goal is to look at the opportunities and weigh them in with the risks. Put simply, they’ll help you assess the cost required and the value you’ll be getting.

More info here on what a feasibility study includes.

Why should you do this?
Well, I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Different entrepreneurs have different styles. If I was asked to be a part of a program where the program organizers controlled my time and told me what to do, I’d ignore them. If someone made a service available to me that I could use when I wanted to, then I’m interested. So it depends how you want to get started with your business.

Who can apply?
If you’re a Qatari great. You’re one step closer. If you’re an expat, find your Qatari partner and you’re one step closer. (Don’t get sensitive please, this is a program focused on supporting Qataris in Qatar set up businesses in Qatar as a priority first :) )

Here is the online Application form for Entrepreneurs
Here is the online Application form for SMEs

Not what you’re looking for?
Don’t worry. I had a chat with the EQ team and they told me that they’re launching different products and services. There’ll be investment support, advisory services, office space, etc…

My advice

I’m about to impart some words of wisdom here. Take it from a guy that has business idea after business idea.
1- Focus. Pick something you’re seriously passionate about and believe in and go with it. Don’t get distracted. You’ll fail. If you don’t beleive in your own idea, why will others?
2- Be prepared to take some financial risks. Even if you DO get funding, it can be a while until you actually receive anything. Do you want to sit around and wait?
3- Partner! Find the right partners, whether it’s another business you can work with or someone that you want to work with in your own company.
4- Even if you are a small business that has already started for a while. Think like I do. Your business is just start-up with a head start. (It’s important to get into the right mindset).

Another note specifically for expats:
One common thing I hear is, it’s not fair that a Qatari gets 51%. Let’s set this straight. It doesn’t mean that a Qatari takes 51% of the profit. It’s 51% legal responsibility. That means that if the expat he is partnering with or sponsoring takes a loan for 1million riyals and runs away, the Qatari has legal responsibility and can go to jail. So just as an expat might worry about the Qatari sponsoring them, we Qataris also have to worry about the possibility of getting screwed over.
So to set things straight, you could have a legal partnership where the Qatari has 51% ownership but 10% equity or is 5% share plus a fixed salary. (These are just examples).
You want to know why there needs to be Qatari partnerships? We’re 8% of the population! It would take less than a couple of years for people of ANY nationality to just come to Qatar, set up shop, and take all the opportunities away from Qataris.
Then there’s the argument of “Well if they don’t want to do it, then why stop other people from doing business?”. Who says Qataris don’t
Some may say “it’s not OUR fault, not enough people have the entrepreneurial drive or skills to set up a business.” Qatar is a NEW country. Give my people a chance… :)

Any comments? Feedback? I’m pretty sure EQ will probably be checking this blog for your ideas and comments.

Get a 10% discount on tickets to Dralion by Cirque Du Soleil in Qatar!

 

Alright everyone, here’s a nice supruise for all you ajeeb ILQers. If you’re interested in attending Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion, you can now get a 10% discount on tickets! Like the thought of that? Want to know more I hear you say?

Here’s what you need to do!

  1. Go to the Dralion ticketing website www.cirquedusoleil.qa
  2. Click on the ‘BUY; button
  3. Choose the date/seats
  4. Review your purchase and click ‘Continue’
  5. Type in the discount code “ILQ” (has to be all caps)
  6. One you apply the code the price will change and the green check mark will appear. And that’s it!

Want to find out more information about these great event? Click here for timings, the flyer, and details.
Oh and incase you didn’t know the event has been extended too! It now ends on the 28th.

Qatar’s turning the Desert Green

This is fantastic. The goal is to try an create a new ecosystem in the desert which can then evolve into farming technology that could be used in countries that struggle due to the environment.

I recommend giving this a watch.

 

Why did Qatar change their National Day? (A bit of Qatar’s history and Independence)

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September.

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar.

Now let’s talk about pre-independence. Qatar was in quite a mess during the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. After the Ottoman empire collapsed, Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916. On that day, the United Kingdom, in order to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration, signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. While Sheikh Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British Government, Percy Zachariah Cox, the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, who signed the treaty on behalf of his government, guaranteed the protection of Qatar “from all aggression by sea”.

On 5 May 1935, Sheikh Abdullah signed another treaty, which was able to obtain Britain’s agreement for the protection of Qatar from inside as well as any attacks from external forces. Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. However, exploitation was delayed by World War II.

Now September 3rd is when Qatar officially gained its independence from the United Kingdom and became an independent sovereign state. In 1972, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani seized power in a palace coup after infighting in the ruling family.

Now you know. September 3rd and December 18 are both important dates :)

Cydia Concept Redesign for iOS7

I don’t really post this sort of stuff on my blog, but I do like to tinker around with designs now and then, especially when something is bothering me.
(I’m thinking about redesigning Calendar, Currency, Notes, and Reminders on iOS 7 with the hopes of someone actually turning it into a reality one day)

Anyway, I wanted to design something that still had the old app feeling to it, but with iOS7 styling. I don’t like radical redesigns and I feel like UI should be an evolution.

Let me know what you think :)

 


 

 

A Qatari’s Eid

 I thought that some people may find it interesting to know what goes on in Eid with my family.

The children wake up early in the morning. Excited. Playing. Waiting for the day to start. It’s Eid! The adults lay slumbering in their beds and wake up around 8-9 am (after waking up in the early morning for prayers and going to bed). After a hearty breakfast which consists of eggs, olives, honey, cream cheese, bread, and tea, it’s off for a quick shower and everyone puts on their brand new clothes that were specifically bought for Eid.

Eid is about celebration and about looking your best for your family as well.

It’s off to prayer before heading off to Baba Oad’s (Grand Father) house. All of the 50-60 cousins, 6 aunts and 6 uncles (as well as a huge amount of indirect relatives) arrive. The women go off to the sitting room, the men go off to their sitting room, and the children run around the house.

The general banter is usually along the lines of, “When are you getting married?”, “Why haven’t you been visiting more often?”, “Are you working hard?”, and “What have you been doing these days?”.

Children will come around and ask for Eidiya. This could be anything from 1 QR to 10 QR (more if you really like them ;) ) and then go out to ‘Ayid’ to the neighbours by singing songs and getting a few riyals in return. It’s our form of ‘caroling’.

When the children get back, they sit around and count their new found fortunes and plan what they’re going to buy.

Soon enough, it’s time for the feast. We all sit around the floor and dig into a selected slaughter. It sounds kind of cruel to some, but it’s an animal that is killed the Halal way (the most humane method possible where the animal feels no pain). Rice, drinks, lamb or sheep and chit chat.

After washing our hands, we then return the sitting rooms where we have a nice cup of tea (mint, red, or saffron), and relax.

The adults then slowly each return to their homes or go off to make their rounds to other close friends and relatives and wish them a prosperous future. Kil sina wa inta tayeb or kil am wa int ibkhair (every year and you are fine) is repeated from individual to individual.

What we did was head off to a coffee shop where myself and cousins chatted about memories and teased each other. What I was thinking about this year was that it was sad that the new young generation will not get to experience Eid the way that we did. Not many go out to different homes and mix with other town kids. It’s sad. The price of modernization.

 

Note: This is just a memory from my personal experience. Also read ‘We’re not the Borg!


Photo by Jeff Epp

You may also be interested in:

It’s Almost Eid! 

Eid’s almost here.

 

 

QAWS closed down, but why did Qatar let that happen?

Let me start by saying that the reason why I’m writing about this is because of the poor animals in Qatar. I really don’t care which organization takes care of them as long as the animals are taken care of and the people who run it have good intentions. Now, being kind to an animal doesn’t need any justification; after all, my baby sister once said “It’s nice to be nice”. However for those that do need a reason, I’ve looked at this from different points of view.
In Islam:

I’m going to start this by referring to animal welfare in Islam. All animals deserve to live, “And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures” (Quran 55:10).

Animal cruelty in general is forbidden in Islam. Abdullah ibn Umar passed on that the Messenger of God, PBUH, said, “A woman was once punished after death because of a cat which she had kept confined until it died, and because of this she entered the Fire. She had neither given it food or drink while confining it, nor had she let it free to eat the creatures of the earth.”

 

Humanity:

Animals cannot speak. Let me give you an image; I’m a dog person myself (I like cats too even though I’m allergic to most). There are some dogs out there that are beaten until their bones break, are starved until their organs shut down, and thrown out in the garbage and left for dead. You know what the heart breaking thing is? Those same dogs would probably still wag their tails to the same evil hearted person who hurt them if he/she showed some compassion. Read the rest of this entry »

The 2013 list of Qatar’s best burgers

I’ve been wanting to put this together for a while now. Due to the nature of some followers though, let me just say this. I do NOT control your stomach. I’m posting this list of what I think are the best burgers in Qatar because I love burgers. I’m not telling people to eat burgers, this country is fat enough as it is. I’m just saying that if you WERE going to eat a burger, you might as well make the calories worth it.

Also, while this list is sort of in order of most favourite to least favourite, I’m not quite sure I can pick a #1 because these burgers aren’t directly comparable. What do I mean? Well, some burgers are just delicious meals to fill your stomach, some are more of an experience. Do you have your own favourite burger place? Comment in the comment section below!

 

Prime Rib Burger
Kempinski – Westbay

This burger, as I was told by the manager, takes a day to prepare since they grind it, marinate it, and then mix in some secret ingredients (I’m thinking a bit of flour and egg?).

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘the meat melts in your mouth’? It’s not an expression anymore. This burger WILL melt in your mouth. Stay away from their fries though. They aren’t that great and are super salty.

 

Garlic Burger
Butcher Shop and Grill – Villaggio

Alright, here’s what you do. You rock up into the Butcher Shop, grab one of the cushy chairs (trust me, you’ll need it), and order a Garlic Burger (I like mine well done) and ask for a slice of cheese. Then for the side, ask for their steak chips and if you’re a sauce lover, order ALL their sauces. If you don’t want to go crazy and sample all the sauces then order a Garlic Sauce, Peppercorn Sauce, and Cheddar Sauce. Now you’ve got some sauces for your burger and to dip your chips in. Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking of it.

 

Shack Burger
Shake Shack – Villaggio

This is probably the only burger that I crave for now and then. I literally feel, “I need a Shack burger!”. I’ll mention this up front, sometimes they have bad days and the burger comes out greasier than usual, but they’re more than happy to make you a new one! I love the fresh tomato, fresh lettuce, their special sauce, and how their meat is so juicy. My order? A double shack burger (extra cheese if I’m feeling the need to increase my dairy intake), well done, and some cheese fries. If you do order the cheese fries, ask for the cheese to be on the side so that you have something to dip into rather than ending up with soggy chips. Oh did I mention I love cheese? Watch out though, they try their best to push you to buy ice cream… Delicious burger goodness only please.

 

Wagyu Market Burger
The Market  (W Hotel) – Westbay

Now this is a tough one, because now and then The Market change their burger completely. So far, they haven’t let me down. Let me describe this burger to you. They’re generous with the meat (Australian Wagyu beef by the way), add some caramelised onions, a BBQ like sauce, and a slap of cheese. There’s other stuff on it too like tomato and rocket and stuff, but you’re here to read about the meat. Are you the type of person who likes his/her meat medium well? These guys understand where you’re coming from. Oh their fries are delicious too because they are infused with truffle!

Oh want a bargain? Go down to The Market for their lunch time special (think it was 99 QR). I order their Tomato Soup with Sour Dough bread, The Market Cheese Burger (which comes with russian dressing sauce and crispy onions), and mix it up for desert.

 

Rocket Single
Johnny Rockets – Multiple Locations

Their burger is just a good old fashioned burger. They’ve got their own special sauce, have a ring of onion in it (sometimes too much onion), a nice big slice of tomato, and lettuce. I love how they slightly toast the bun too. They’ve recently launched a Wagyu version of their typical burgers, but trust me, it’s not worth it. I don’t taste the difference. The only thing different is that you’re a few riyals lighter. Since you’re there though, try out their bowl of chili. In my opinion, it’s the best chili in Qatar. Watch out though, sometimes they don’t have the original chili and try and replace it with their ‘home made’ version, so always ask up front.

 

 

Hot Rocks
Fuddruckers – Khalifa Stadium

You’re now saying, “Khalifa…. are you serious? Fuddruckers?”, to which I reply, “Why yes Maam-sir I am!” They have very good burgers. Great value burgers in fact. There are two things to mention here. 1- Try their their Hot Rocks burger. The meat is moist, have delicious chipotle bbq sauce, crispy bits of bacon and pepper jack cheese, they’re generous with all the toppings and you can have as much salad as you like 2- If you’re adventurous, they’ve got a 1 POUNDER. Yes! The burger is as big as a baby’s head. It’s huge. Think you can handle it?

 

 

Salmon Burger
W Cafe (W hotel) – Westbay

Now I’m not really a salmon lover, but ermahgerd, sermern berger! You have to try it! It’s soft but doesn’t fall apart, it’s delicious but with no guilt attached. Order it with a side of Salad, and you’re good to go. Hey wait… I didn’t mean go now….

On a side note to any potential restaurant owners reading this. WELL DONE, does NOT mean burned. Well done means that the meat should be brown (no pink). You can still have a well done but juicy burger! Just saying.

I’ll be updating this list as and when I discover delicious burgers worthy of the title.

 

Other notable burgers (because the community sent these in) are:
- Elevation burger (It didn’t make my list because the fries are drenched in oil, went three times and twice my order was wrong, and the place just smells like grease. The burger is good, but too oily).
- K108 (This place has a nice burger (which I think is not on the menu) but I’ve been a few times. Once the burger was great, the other time it was over cooked and chewy)
- Burgerry (This is a new joint and I’ve only been once. In terms of value, I feel it’s over priced. A small bottle of coke is 10 QR! The burger I received was burned BLACK, I didn’t get an apology and the second burger seemed under cooked and soggy. Happy to give them another try.)
- Just Burger (Went twice, first time the burger tasted dry and was pink even though I asked for well done. Second time we had to sit outside because their ventilation was not working and the place was smokey. This time the burger was oily but still pink inside).
- Hardees Angus Burger (Honestly? I love it. It’s a good fast food burger, but not one that I crave for)

 

Want me to come and try your burger? Confident that you’ll be added to the list? Send me an invite to contact – at – iloveqatar.net (replace – at – with @) If you are offering a complimentary burger, then I’ll need a voucher because I’ll only go if you don’t know when I’m coming to make it fair :)

Mr. Q visits Korea (Three Episodes) – A Qatari guy visits Korea

Some people have been following my Vlogs for a while now. I’ve had quite a few going on, from talking about waste dump in the Pearl, to episodes in Japan. I’ve now put together the first two episodes of a three parter called Mr. Q visits Korea. It’s interesting for most people not only because you get to see what’s happening from a Qatari’s point of view, but a lot of people might be interested in Korea in general too. By the way, I recommend visiting the country, I had a fantastic time and can’t wait to visit again!

Is there another country you want me to visit? If so, drop me a comment in the comments section below. Also, please don’t forget to subscribe, thumbs up and share the videos, it helps keep me going and shows me that you appreciate what I’m putting together.

 

Episode 1 (Gangnam Style and the Loneliest pigeon in the world.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIua35u2IUM
 

Episode 2 (Tiny little baby Octopus and Poo bread)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT2cm-q0_LI
 

Episode 3 coming soon.

You can also see more videos by visiting the iLoveQatar channel. Thank you again for helping the channel pass 1.2 MILLION views!

Garangao in Qatar 2013 – The Festival of Children (and the Garangao song)

It’s almost time to celebrate Garangao [Ga-ran-ga-oh] (or sometimes called Gir-ga-oon)

Garangao, celebrated on the 14th day of Ramadan, is special to the Gulf region , particularly Qatar, and is believed to have its roots in the pearl-diving tradition of the region. Over the years, the festival has gained more popularity with several expatriates joining the celebrations.

In the evening, children, clad in their traditional clothes, will come out of their homes and knock on every door in their neighbourhood, which will be ready to receive them with sweets and nuts. They collect the goodies in the special cotton bags, hanging loosely from their necks. Kids will be seen wandering around the streets until late into the night singing the special Garangao song.

Now people are not just interested in buying the goodies, but they go for the specially designed packets and bags decorated with popular cartoon characters and other symbols dear to the children. So shops are vying to offer new and attractive designs. The prices of these packets range from QR5 to QR50, according to the size and varieties of the goodies.

Several Qatari clubs and organizations, which are instrumental in popularizing the festival, have come out with a variety of cultural events to mark the occasion, as in the previous years.

I remember when I was young, we’d all go around singing songs to the different homes and filling our bags with sweets! (I got really annoyed when I had mostly nuts) It was great! I encourage all nationalities to enjoy this festive occassion :)

We’ve got loads of events listed on www.ramadan.qa so check it out!
We’ve listed Aspire, Katara, Lagoona, QMA, DFI and more.

 

The Garangao song!

Here’s the song! Play it loud!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7kpZEKgvQU&feature=player_embedded

Lyrics:

Garangao Girga oh.
Atoona allah yateekum
Bayt Mecca ya wadeekum
Ya Mecca Yal mamoora
Yam il salasil wal thahab ya noora
Atoona min mal allah
Yislam lakum Abdulla.

Now this part of the song is special. You usually end it with the family name or the name of the father of the house (if you know it). So the ending of the song changes. For example:

Khalifa:
Atoona dahbat leefa
Salam Ala Khalifa

Translation:

Garangao Girga oh
Give us what God gave you
To Mecca he’ll take you
The greatly filled Mecca
Covered with tassles, gold and light
Give us what God  have given
Abdulla greets you with smiles

Khalifa:

Please give me us a bit of sweets

Please say hi to Khalifa.

 

So who’s going to be the first person to memorize and sing the song?

HAPPY GARANGAO EVERYONE!

 

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.